- Player: Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane
- Company: ShowLove
- Established: 2006
- Visit: showlove.co.za
ShowLove is an urban youth marketing agency. It organises events (read: parties) for trendy brands, handles social media campaigns and even represents some of South Africa’s hottest talent. In other words, it is very much in the business of setting trends and creating ‘cool’.
So how did Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane manage to turn a penchant for hosting massive parties into a solid business? Well, despite what the lavish trappings of the party scene might suggest, it all came down to hard work. Underneath the glitz and glamour you’ll find a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears.
Relationships are incredibly important
When I turned 21, I organised a massive party for myself. Soon, others were asking me to organise parties for them. And before I knew it, I was running a business. I developed relationships with young brand managers back then. Today they sit in senior positions, so these relationships have matured and expanded over time.
That said, you can’t know everyone
So I hand out a lot of business cards. I also follow up leads, though I try to never become so persistent that it starts to irritate people. You need to walk a fine line.
A lot of people ask for money too quickly
I believe that before you ask a new client for money, you first need to prove that you can offer real value. If I can suggest a good social media strategy ahead of an event, I provide it to a client for free. I let them experience the traction.
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By the time I submit a quote, a client is generally happy to pay what I ask. They know that I can offer value, so they don’t ask me to drop my price.
We create a lot of online content
Even though ShowLove is not a traditional media company, there is a lot of value in creating content around the events that we host. An 18-year-old might not be able to attend a fancy event, but he or she can feel like a part of the action through our blog posts.
Creating content also provides the company with a certain amount of credibility. Through it ShowLove is positioned as a tastemaker that has its pulse on the latest trends.
You can’t be a brand slut
If I work with a sneaker brand, I’m not going to work with one of its competitors. Consumers aren’t stupid — they can tell when engagement is inauthentic. I only work with brands that I believe in, and where I think there’s real synergy. I’m not afraid to say no to work if I don’t think my vision aligns with that of a client.
There is an opportunity cost to every job you take on
I’ve stopped taking on one-off jobs. I think it’s better to create a long-term relationship with a client. When considering a new job, you have to ask if the job is worth your time.
Is it big enough, or will it only be diverting you from jobs that are potentially more lucrative?
You need a plan B, C and D
Things go wrong. It’s inevitable. Because of this, you need a contingency plan. You need to just deal with any problem that arises. Always remember this: It’s not the client’s problem — it’s your problem. You need to find a solution.
You also need to draft contracts with clients and suppliers that protect you, should something go horribly wrong. As I said, it is pretty much guaranteed that something will go wrong, and there’s often nothing sinister behind it. A car might simply break down or someone might get sick, but a lot of hassle can still arise from it.
Outsource as little as possible
A great way to ensure you deliver a certain level of service is to bring as many functions in-house as you can. ShowLove owns a lot of event equipment, because this makes it less dependent on suppliers. Doing stuff in-house gives you more control.
Being authentic doesn’t mean being critical
ShowLove is about exactly that — showing love. I only promote things that I really like on social media, but at the same time I won’t be critical of things I don’t like. I never post negative reviews.
I also ask a lot of questions on social media
Too many businesses forget that social media communication should be two-way. It’s not just about talking to consumers, but about listening to them as well.
Social media is a great place to discover the latest trends.
Go beyond the brief
If you want to build a real relationship with a client, you need to go beyond the simple limitations of the brief he or she provides. It is all about adding value. How can you help a client reach an audience or make an event a huge success? It might mean recommending a great supplier or performer. I started representing AKA, for example, because I was always booking him for events.
Getting repeat work is not about being the cheapest, but about being the best. If you can show that you really add value, clients will be more than willing to pay.